All posts filed under: Northern Irish Women Poets

Poems from ‘Available Light’ by Maria McManus

from ‘Émigrés’   3.   What is going on in your heart?   Prisoners of war live here   Throw off your gaudy vestments, spring’s best and brightest fig and let me see you naked and then, more naked still —   Put your heart in my hearts cavity. Slip it in.   Bring your worry beads if needs be. It’s not too late to shred all documents of denunciation.   5.   Now we must hunt by ear and put our trust   in gossiping swallows, the hooded crows, the herring gulls,   the wryneck’s potent drum.   7. Between silences take notice of the imago of your stolen self. Sold back but at what price?   10. Collect wishbones, place them in charnel houses, quarter the ground to make sure and certain none are missing – these things bring a plan to grief.   11. The song-birds are drowning, the sea is now a cemetery. The song-birds are drowning, the sea is now a cemetery   14. Life’s comforts are honeycombed and treacherous, and …

‘Still Life With Hedgehog’ and other poems by Gaynor Kane

Still life with hedgehog   The items have been arranged; carefully positioned, to vary height with texture and tone. Lit from the left. But what the artist hadn’t bargained for was that the sleeping urchin would unfurl; spine straightening, light-tipped quills oblique. To nimbly negotiate the spray of red roses, and feast on wedge of watermelon. White table linen turning light pink.   Abraxas Oh, dark one! I see shadows staring back reflected in an ebony pond, a black iris smooth and shining. Do we see differently? Is your world in sepia, or monochrome, or technicolour? Have you lost hope in humanity? I stroll through the golden field, seeded grass swishes against skin. You follow, echoing my gait. Under a shaft of sunlight we stop – still. Feel our breathing become synchronised. Taste the mist of our exhalation merging in the stillness of us muzzles almost nuzzling. But you are looking down on me and I wonder if your power will be my undoing. I reach to touch your cheek. The spell is broken you …

A Celebration of Women’s Poetry for International Women’s Day 2018

  ‘A History of Love Letters’ by Seanín Hughes   Miss said every time I told a lie, Baby Jesus had a nail hammered into his hand. She said I had a sad mouth, corners downturned, pointing to hell.   Stephen with the p-h had a mouth like sunshine. I gave him a token: a tiny toy dinosaur egg, pale blue and gold. I wrote his name on my hand and hoped the egg would hatch.   My body grew and Granny said, never shave your legs, so I did. Better bald spring chicken; better descaled and plucked bare for boys to touch with their nervous fingers, and work me open.   The one who wrote love letters spilled his entrails in black Bic biro, telling me in no particular order the parts of me he liked best — some illustrated.   When Napoleon begged his Josephine to lay herself bare, he meant for her flaws to fold her into neat and precious squares — for her to be less than his clenched-fist heart could hold.   …

Happy Christmas 2017 Dear Poethead Readers !

Poethead will return in January 2018, moving into its tenth year platforming women poets, their editors and their translators. I will be reading and responding to your submissions in the intervening period. Thank you for your emails, your queries, your support and responses over these 9 years. It is heartening and wonderful to have such engaged and friendly people along for the ride. Image © Theo Crazzolara Read Women Poets  and then some        

“The Bellmouth” and other poems by Gráinne Tobin

Internal Exile   It was all too much. He took to his bed, and stayed there for ten years, begetting, however, several more children. She carried trays up and down the stairs and he lay hidden, staring out to sea. At night he watched the lighthouse winking through his shuttered window. All the money was gone. It didn’t matter. They picked a living from their children’s labour at this salty edge of earth, where there was always fishing, chickens, a smallholding of sorts, some barter.   What got him up and dressed at last was this. One afternoon from under his eiderdown he gazed beyond the glass panes, as the waves framed by floral curtains, silently rose, and gulped his two sons in their boat – corpses never found, skiff washed ashore in pieces, the coastal searches just as futile as that warm sanctuary where the need to witness woke him in the end.   From The Nervous Flyer’s Companion   Happy Days in Sunny Newcastle   The air’s washed now, last night’s sad leavings …